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one traveler at a time. expedia. find yours. right now on "andrea mitchell reports," family matters -- after decades of opposition, why is republican senator rob portman, once a top contender to be mitt romney's running mate, now reversing his opposition to gay marriage? >> i had a very personal experience. which is my son came to jane, my wife and i, told us that he was gay. and that it was not a choice and that you know, that's just part of who he is and he had been that way ever since he could remember. and that launched an interesting process for me. which was -- kind of rethinking my position. >> live at cpac, mitt romney's first political speech coming up since his defeat in november. plus president obama's new energy policy today, to be
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announced in illinois. next week, he's on to israel and benjamin netanyahu. >> we've got a terrific business-like relationship. he is very blunt with me about his views on issues and i'm very blunt with him about my views on issues and we get stuff done. >> good day i'm andrea mitchell live in washington, while conservatives are firing up the base at cpac, the president concluded a week of outreach to republicans on capitol hill. and first trip to israel and the west bank, he's in illinois on energy policy. white house press secretary jay carney joins me. what a week this has been. the president going back and forth to capitol hill. and working his charm with democrats as well as republicans. because he's got some base cleaning up to do as well. what is your take-away after
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this week? there's a lot of reporting that he has not moved the needle at all as far as the republican opposition on the budget. >> we feel very good about the how the week has turned out in terms of the president's meetings on capitol hill with house republicans, senate republicans and house and senate democrats. this is part of a process of engagement. that you know he's embarked on. where he's trying to find willing members of the caucus of common sense. he wants, andrea, as you know, to have conversations with republican lawmakers about whether they're interested in finding some common ground, in the effort to reduce our deficit further. whether they would agree with the basic principle that reducing the deficit further is something we can do, if we do it in a balanced way. reforming our entitlements. to produce savings. but also reforming our tax code to produce savings and apply both of those savings to reducing our deficit. if we do it that way, if we do it in a balanced way that asks the well-off and well-connected to pay a little bit, to
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contribute a little bit to deficit reduction, not just seniors and middle class then we don't have to put all of the burden on seniors and the middle class while giving a massive, massive tax cut yet again to the wealthiest folks. the president felt very good about his meetings. he a great session with senate republicans yesterday and you saw numerous quotes i think from senate republicans that reflected the fact that it was a good meeting and a constructive meeting and there really is the potential for common ground. but the differences are large and they remain large do get back to your point, when it comes to deficit reduction, it may be that the gab is too wide to reach a deal. the president hopes that's not the case, but we'll see, it's certainly worth having this engagement to try to find common ground. >> why did it take so long? i know you're going to say he's met with them before. but it's commonly accepted, and this is not just conventional wis ddom that dennis mcdonough s
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made a difference, this is outreach to members whom he's never met before, republicans. >> well i mean the members he hadn't met before or hadn't heard him speak, this is a fourth meeting the president has had with the entire house republican conference. since he became president. and the only year he didn't have a meeting was during an election year last year. >> but jay, paul ryan, at their lunch, paul ryan's lunch was their first conversation other than the brief meeting at the house republican caucus. so it was the first time that he had actually sat down as republican budget chair with the president. united states to talk about policy and the way forward. >> first of all, again andrea, i could bore your viewers to death with the list of meetings the president has had with congressional republicans, it goes on and on and the hours he spent with the speaker of the house and congressional leaders in 2001.
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i think rivalled engagement at that level of any recent president in, with their opposition counterparts. there's no, there's no comparison. what we do have is a change in circumstances. because as you know, we've been governing from crisis to crisis with manufactured deadlines now, repeatedly whether it was the debt ceiling negotiations or the super committee. or the fiscal cliff or the sequester deadline. now because republicans chose to embrace the sequester, let it take place, let it be implemented with all its negative impacts, that's a negative. but the fact is it means we don't have the looming deadline that requires you know, huddled negotiations with congressional leadership to try to produce an outcome before you know, something terrible happens at midnight on any given day. we now are engaged in what's called regular order. budget process that includes the house passing a budget resolution, the senate passing its budget resolution. the president submitting his budget and then hopefully,
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hopefully through conference you know, through meetings of the house and the senate, you know, some kind of compromise emerges that represents the balance that the american people want. you know, we can, we hope that that's what happens and that's why the president is engaged in this strategy. we don't know if it will, because you know, it's definitely, when you hear house republicans say as the speaker of the house did earlier this year, he will never negotiate with the president again -- that makes it a little difficult, right? when you hear some house republicans say they would absolutely refuse to kproe means mice at all. when it comes to balance, that makes it difficult. but the fact is that the public is with the idea of balance where the president is, and a lot of senate republicans have expressed interest in it. so we'll see where this takes us. we think it's the right direction to go and we hope it produces results. >> jay, ha do you say to the house democrats like congressman ellison and others who are angry about entitlement changes, you
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would call them changes, they call them cuts. >> near reforms and these produce savings. the fact of the matter is the president has consistently put forward balanced proposals, including in his or offer to the speaker of the house. they represent tough choices made by democratic leader, made by the president of the united states. and all he is asking is that republicans also make some tough choices on the revenue side. if we live, if the conventional wisdom is drew in washington, which is that republicans want no tax revenue, only spending cuts and democrats want no spending cuts and only tax revenue, then each side should be compelled to make some tough choices to reach compromise. the president is doing that. he knows that some of these decisions are tough. but he's leading on this issue and we just want to see republicans do the same thing. lead on the issue, make a tough choice, come together, do what's right for the american people. >> the president in his interview with israel's television channel described his relationship with benjamin netanyahu as business-like.
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obviously they're not quote friends, he pointed out he has met with him more than any other foreign leader. ha do you hope to accomplish? because some are suggesting that this is basically a sight-seeing tour of israel, his first visit to israel as president. and that there is very little that he can accomplish at this point with netanyahu weakened after the election. just putting together this coalition. you covered foreign policy for years for "time" magazine. you know exactly what the situation is. and that there's really been no dialogue between israel and the palestinians. >> well there's no question that the middle east peace process has been a challenging issue for this president, for all of his recent predecessors, but it is absolutely important for us to continue to press the israelis and the palestinians to take steps towards direct negotiations over the issues that divide them. when it comes to trying to reach that goal. that they both share. a two-state solution. and we will continue to urge both sides to do that.
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and continue to urge both sides not to take steps, unilateral steps that make it harder. to engage in direct negotiations. look, i think the visit is very important. the president is not coming with some new peace proposal. because we're very clear about what needs to take place in terms of direct negotiations for progress to be made. but it's very important for the president to sit down with israeli leaders, as well as palestinian leaders, as well as the king of jordan to engage on the whole range of issues that the united states has with each of these leaders. and, and move forward. i mean iran is an issue, syria is an issue. the israeli/u.s. relationship in many ways has never been stronger. the president wants to speak to the israeli people and the israeli youth about this incredibly important relationship and the unshakeable bond that we have with israel and our commitment to israel security. but he also wants to speak to the palestinian people about and the palestinian youth about our
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support for a palestinian state. a sovereign palestinian state. and the needs for negotiations to reach a two-state solution, so this is, this is i think a very important trip. the president is looking forward to it. >> and finally i want to ask you about guns. there was a hearing on the hill as you well know, where the chair, dianne feinstein, the sponsor on the judiciary committee of the assault weapon ban, basically sent ted cruz back to school for his approach and his challenge to run constitutional grounds. but here was wayne lapierre today speaking to cpac. >> the vice president of the united states actually told women facing an attack, to just empty their shotguns into the air. honestly, have they lost their minds over at the white house? >> do you have any response to mr. lapierre? >> i think that mr. lapierre --
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public handling of the aftermath of newtown has been amply ann analyzed and discussed and has not been particularly helpful for his cause or the more important cause, which is reducing gun violence in america and i think that's an assessment that is widely held. what we need are partners in a cause that should not divide democrats from republicans, because the victims of gun violence are not democrats or republicans, they're americans and sometimes they are six and 7-year-old americans. the president believes we need to take steps, common-sense steps that reduce gun violence in america. i'm sure you didn't hear from wayne lapierre is that not a single proposal the president made with the vice president, whether it's an executive action or a legislative measure, would take a single firearm away from a single law-abiding american. because the president believes in our second amendment rights. but he also believes we have to
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take steps to reduce gun violence. steps like closing loopholes in our background check system. that's something that 91% of the american people support. 91%. republicans, democrats, independents. rural americans, sportsmen and women. urban americans. i mean this is something that even the nra, even wayne lapierre used to support. so -- i think this is a common-sense measure that we hope and the president hopes, is moved forward on it. there's progress on in congress and that he will eventually get to sign into law. >> before i let you go, jay, there's a report on "reuters" that chuck hagel at the pentagon is going to be announcing a new missile defense to be installed in alaska presumably to protect against anything coming from north korea. can you tell us about that? well i want to point you to the announcements coming out of the defense department, so i don't have a lot on that for you. we have obviously very mindful of the north korean threat as well as threats from other areas. that's why we have pursued
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missile defense in the way that we have. but i'll leave the specifics to the secretary of defense. >> and i don't know what the protests are outside the gates there, but it sounds as though you've got some company, a little chorus. >> i haven't been able to see them, there's a screen here, but i'll go check it out after this. >> okay, well we just want to say that that was not -- there's something outside the gate of the white house. outside the gates on pennsylvania avenue. thank you very much, jay, great to have you. >> thank you, andrea, good to be with you. and see you in the middle east next week. and joining us now for our daily fix. a lot to unpack there, chris cillizza, msnbc contributor and msnbc capitol hill correspondent, our own kelly o'donnell. chris, first to you. the president is going to fight for gun control. but for gun laws i should say. but the white house has very little appetite to take on the assault weapon ban. we're told that perhaps there would be 50 perhaps a few more votes, but not the 60 that the sponsors really need when that
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hits the floor. in truth, andrea, some of the votes that they would need, many of the votes they would need are from democrats in the senate. who not all, but many of whom represent states where gun rights are sort of considered part of the culture and where i think voting for an assault weapons ban would be viewed at least politically speaking not all that well. so you know jay carney yesterday at the white house briefing said the president was supportive of the assault weapons ban. now support can mean lots of different things. in this case, i think the president does wish that there was a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban. but i do not think the president is going to put his political capital on the line to try to sort of strong-arm these this group of democratic senators who are not thrilled about voting for it i thechk they want to get something passed. whether that's on expanding
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background checks or these high-capacity magazines. they want something so they can say newtown wasn't in vain, that this spurred legislative action. but i think they also recognize from president obama to vice president biden to jay carney, they recognize the political realities, not just in the republican party, but in the democratic party. >> and kelly o'donnell, the news today here with cpac in town and the conservatives coalescing and their own divisions, not inviting chris christie. not inviting bob mcdonald, and yes, mitt romney and we're expecting him to be getting up any minute and speak, his first speech since the defeat and now we have the man who some would say was second in line to become his running mate, and senator portman. let's talk about senator portman. let's talk about his big news today. >> who is known for his economic positions and skills in that area, has never been one of the republicans who talks about social issues a lot and he has come out to say that he now will be supportive of gay marriage
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and in great degree, that is the personal journey he has gone through. because his son, will, told jane his wife and senator portman about being gay. and they reviewed it in sort of their own hearts and said, we want all of our children to have the same access to marriage. and so politically, very big deal. personally, i think it's many ways, very private matter for the family. but he wanted to be very clear in stating he now believes in this. he rendered his own opinion with doma, the defense of marriage act, which he had votesed for and what would be happening with the supreme court. he didn't want to interfere with that he'll now be one of those voices in the republican party that sort of shows the change and where many people's views in society said it's really not partisan any more, it's generational. >> let's listen to a bit of senator portman's interview with dana bash on cnn. >> i've come to the conclusion that for me personally, i think this is something that we should allow people to do. to get married and to have the
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joy and the stability of marriage that i've had for over 26 years. >> and this comes right after marco rubio took a very hard line. let's see marco rubio at cpac yesterday. >> i respect people that disagree with me on certain things. but they have to respect me, too. just because i believe that states should have the right to define marriage in the traditional way does not make me a bigot. >> sam portman's son has tweeted today, i'm especially proud of my dad today. and we did see chris cillizza, in the nbc news/"wall street journal" poll that for the first time, 51% of those polled were in favor of gay marriage. we've seen a large number of well-known republicans signing on to that amicus brief. in support of the challenge to prop 8 which will be argued in a couple of weeks. but among republicans there's a very different, different posture in our polling. republicans are still very much against it. >> you know, andrea, the thing i
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compare to, and i would say i compare to this issue, prenewtown and pre-aurora. but i compare it to democrats and guns in the sort of mid 1990s up until about 2011. which is there is still a significant element of their democratic base that believe very strongly in the need for more gun control. but the party leadership from rahm emanual, who is heading the house democratic campaign committee. chuck schumer, and barack obama as a presidential candidate, they didn't talk about it. so the base still held those beliefs strongly. but they, the sort of faces of the party just stopped talking about it. to the extend they talked about it. they said i know there's a lot of strong passions on this issue, i have a certain view, but i don't think that view should necessarily go for everyone in the country. i think that's where the gay marriage issue is heading for republicans. there is always going to be a group and not insignificant group of republicans who simply do not like it and feel very passionately about it. but my guess is that it's going
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to fade, kelly pointed out it's a generational issue. it's going to fade from sort of the active political dialogue that we won't talk about it as much. not that people won't still hold those beliefs, but that the politicians won't talk about them. >> of course, chris cillizza and kelly, we saw dick cheney and his personal situation. family matters. and all of us have family connections to it. >> it takes people to a different outcome sometimes. >> kelly o'donnell, chris cillizza, thanks very much. next more about the fight for the soul of the republican party with former george w. bush's speechwriter, michael gereson. and the head of the congressional black caucus with her concerns about the president's black cabinet. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. gers ♪
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. joining me now it talk about the republican party's past vgts present and future, is michael gerson, editorial columnist for the wp wp and former bush speechwriter. this is an interesting time and an inflection point for the republican party. because it's a few months after losing and now they're meeting and they seem to be ratifying all of their oldest instincts or previous instincts and not talking about changing for the future. >> well it's hard to view cpac as indicative of the republican future. >> what is cpac's role? how important, is it still relevant is it still determinative? >> i don't think it's determinative. the last two republican candidates were romney and mccain. >> they both won the cpac poll in the year before they won the nomination. >> that's true, but they weren't necessarily people that would have gotten the most cheers at cpac.
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in a variety of settings, there's a certain realism about the broader republican party about its future that you might not hear, an applause meter at cpac. but there were divergent perspectives, you had rand paul who is very much organized his speech around the fear of government and its attack on civil liberties and you had marco rubio who organized his speech on outreach to middle class people and talked about a family that he knows and how do you reach independent voters. it was a conservative speech but it was an outreach speech. both of them got a lot of applause and that argument is going to continue in the republican context for couple of years in palestinian to the primaries. >> what about them not inviting chris christie. arguably the most popular republican with a lot of people and has off-the-charts popularity in his home state? >> i think it was a terrible mistake and if the republican party doesn't have a future that includes people like rubio, who can win in a state like new jersey then the republican party
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doesn't have -- >> you mean chris christie. >> yes. >> so in terms of chris christie, is he too much of an outlier? are more moderate republicans from the northeast, from blue states impossible as potential candidates? >> i don't i don't think necessarily impossible. we just had one from massachusetts. >> and look what happened. >> look what happened. that's what the critics would say. but i don't think that it's regional. obviously republicans have huge regional problems, they're going to have to be a national party or they're not going to be able to compete in national elections. that's true of hispanics and true of lower income white voters and true of other regions of the country where they have get some votes, that's the reality. >> senator portman's statement about gay marriage, this is an outlier position with the republican party. but it is a 51% approval position within the broader sweep of america according to
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our polling. >> it may be an outliar position, but it's a particularly important one. rob portman is one of the most respected republican voices in washington, i worked with him, he's a person of faith, a person of integrity. he's incapable of grandstanding. this is a deep person conviction that he came to. i think that's likely to be very persuasive with many of his colleagues. it's a symbol of what's been happening in large parts of the country as people have come out of the closet. this issue has become more personal, not abstract. it's become more human. and as that happens, tolerance on these issues has become the norm. and there's now you know moving towards gay rights on marriage in many parts of the country. >> what would you say to cpac and its conveners? >> well i'm not sure whattoid say to them. what republicans have to do is they have to find ways to persuade in that room. that don't preclude them from per situating outside the room.
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that's what i think that rubio's remarks were more impressive. he got enthusiasm from that crowd in a variety of ways with a message that you can imagine communicating more broadly. you know rand paul got a lot of applause with a message that i can't imagine communicating more broadly and that's the choice republicans will have. >> thank you very much michael gerson, good to see you. up next, what will more republican support mean in the fight for marriage equality? and later, the pope francis, ushering in a new world, a new world order for the church. is really made of cheese?
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it's not working! yes it is. welcome to tyco integrated security. with world-class monitoring centers and thousands of qualified technicians. we've got a personal passion to help your business run safer, smarter, and sharper. we are tyco integrated security. and we are sharper. i'm up next, but now i'm singing the heartburn blues. hold on, prilosec isn't for fast relief. cue up alka-seltzer. it stops heartburn fast. ♪ oh what a relief it is! this is where i am for reasons that are consistent with my political philosophy. including family values, including being a conservative who believes the family is a building block of society. >> rob portman, the senator from ohio, the most recent opponent of same-sex marriage to have a
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change of heart. the final word on marriage equality could depend on the nine justices of the supreme court. how they take the case in arguments two weeks from now. joining me now, chad griffin, president of the human rights campaign and importantly, you were the precip tore of the original challenge to prop 8 in california, you were the person who hired david boys and ted olsen in your previous ole before you came to washington and now we're two weeks away from this argument. we're on the edge of history here either way. >> without question. we truly are now at a turning point in this movement. we have never had such an historic case, we have two cases, prop 8, the case about a state passing a law that prevents gay and lesbian people from having the freedom to marry. while at the same time d.o.m.a., the federal ban on recognition of states that have marriage equality and it's really incredible. as you saw with senator portman today. what senator portman and his wife have gone through is the
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same kind of evolution that every american goes through on this issue. >> that your family went through. >> indeed, it's exactly. that's what i was thinking about my own family. when i heard that incredible news this morning. and you know, senator portman is now joins a long list of americans, democrats, republican, independent alike who are supporting the right to marry the person that they love. and they came to that because of a personal reason. he put personal over politics, quite frankly. and his son coming out to his and his wife have been together for 26 years want nothing more than the same right for their own son. in a town where no one agrees these days on anything, increasingly the two political parties and those in both parties are actually agreeing on marriage equality. the country is ready. >> is the white house ready? because the president did not go as far in their amicus brief as some in your community would have wanted. >> the president made history in
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both his inaugural address and he followed it up with action. when he filed the solicitor general filed the brief in the perry case, joining the side of the plaintiffs, in a side that proposition 8 is unconstitutional. and that's the specific case before this court. they also acknowledged there are seven other states similarly situate dodd california. they suggested that other state laws that come next in future challenges should be viewed through the same lens of heightened scrutiny. we should look down upon laws that deny a certain group of citizens, a minority in this country, the rights that the majority enjoys. >> what is your message to the republican party as an organized party, because of its platform, because of where it's candidates have been and where cpac is today? >> there is no question where this country is questioneded on marriage equality and it's headed there fast. a majority of republicans under 40 support marriage equality. a majority of catholics support marriage equality.
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and it's going to become increasingly difficult to get elected to office if you're on the side of discrimination and hate. so i urge all democrats, independents and republicans, to get on the right side of history and now is the time. >> are you disappointed that the, the conclave has chosen a pope, pope francis, who while be praised by many for his ex-em playerly outreach to the poor has really hard positions, traditional positions of the church against homosexuals? >> i've seen some of what he said in the past. he comes from a country that the anti marriage side lost. maurj equality was the law of the land. it is my hope that the new pope will really take a hard look at that position. at the end of the day, we were all taught the golden rule. i went to a jess witness university. i learned about catholic soernl thought. we are to care for the poor and underprivileged and we are to
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treat everyone equally under the law. i do believe at the end of the day, the church is going to have to catch up where the vast majority of the world is headed on this issue. i'll remain optimistic that he and the church are going to get there. >> we go now to cpac where mitt romney is making his first political speech since losing in november. >> the great privilege of experiencing america in a way that ann and i had never anticipated we would get to do. our fellow citizens opened up their hearts and homes to us. of course i left the race disappointed that i didn't win. but i also left honored and humbled to have represented the values we believe in and to speak for so many good and decent people. we've lost races before in the past. but those setbacks prepared us for larger victories. it helps us to learn from our mistakes and my mistakes and we take advantage of the learning to make sure that we take back
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the nation, take back the white house, get the senate and put in place conservative principles. now it's -- it's fashionable in some circles to be pessimistic about america. about conservative solutions, about the republican party. i utterly reject pessimism. we may not have carried on november 7th. but we haven't lost the country we love and we have not lost our way. our nation is full of aspirations and hungry for new solutions. we're a nation of invention and reinventing. my optimism about america wasn't diminished by my campaign. in fact, it grew. it grew as i saw the people of america and heard their stories. i've seen american determination and people like debby somers of
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las vegas. she runs a furniture rental business for conventions there. when 9/11 hit and when the recession hit, why that tanked her convention business. but she didn't give up. she didn't close down the business. didn't lay off her people. instead, she taught her people how to make furniture. and her business thrives. i've seen perseverance. haroldhamm drove a truck for deny years so he could go to college. he he majored in geology. he was studying geological surveys and said there must be oil in north dakota. went to north dakota drilled a well, dry hole. told it cost $2 million to drill a dry hole. he drilled 16 more. they called it harold's folly up there until the 17th. the bachan range he discovered is estimated to have as many as 500 billion barrels of oil.
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i've seen risk taking, the flagging lurm business and mounting losses, convinced the international paper kopgs that they needed to shut down their mill in new hampshire. into the breach stepped gym smith and kim moore, the plant manager and sales manager, they borrowed and invested everything they could find to buy the business. they saved their jobs and the jobs of 30 other of their colleagues and they grew sales now from $5 million a year to $50 million a year. i had the honor of being in the home of billy graham and residence of cardinal dolan and prayed with these men of god. i've met heroes in our armed forces, men and women who resigned with the national guard after multiple tours of duty in afghanistan, knowing as they resigned in all likelihood they would be at another tour in the future. i met heroes in the homes of the
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nation. single moms working two jobs so their kids can have the same kind of kids other kids in school have. dads who don't know what a weekend is because they've taken on so many jobs to make sure they can keep the house. we're a patriotic people. our haeart is blessed by the lad of god. may we as a people always be graced by his grace and his protection. like you, i believe that a conservative vision can attract a majority of americans. and form a governing coalition of renewal and reform. now, as someone who just lost the last election, i'm probably not in the best position to chart the course for the next
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one. that being said, let me offer this advice, perhaps because i'm a former governor, i would urge as you all to learn lessons that come from some of our greatest success stories. 30 republican governors across the country. they're winning elections, but more importantly, they're solving problems. big problems, important problems. governor nathan deal in georgia. secured a constitutional amendment to make sure they could have charter schools. governor rick snyder got in place right to work legislation in michigan. a number of these republican governors were able to secure tort reform and a whole horde of republican governors inherited budges that were badly out of
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balance and have replaced deficits with surpluses. look, these governors have shown that they're able to reach across the aisle, offer innovative solutions and willing to take the heat that you have to take to do important things. we need the leadership and the ideas and the vision of these governors. we particularly need by the way to hear from the governors from the blue and purple states. because those are the states we're going to have to win to be able to get back people like bob mcdonald, scott walker, john kasich, susanna martinez, chris christie, brian sandoval. these are the people we have to listen to and make sure their message is heard loud and clear across the country. now we can also learn from the examples of principle and passion and leadership we've seen during the last few weeks here in washington, d.c., by a republican leaders. i may be a little biased, but i
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applaud the clear and convincing voice of my friend, paul ryan. >> if i were to offer advice to any person who was or became the president of the united states it would be this -- do whatever you can to keep america strong. to keep america prosperous. and free. and the most powerful nation on earth. it's no secret that the last century was an american century and it's no secret that over the span of the coming century, that is not written in the stars. america's preeminent position is not guaranteed. and the consequence, if america were to become surpassed by another nation would be devastating. why do i say that? because the other leading contenders for world leadership,
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china, russia, the jihadists, not one of them accepts freedom as we understand it. only america and american strength can preserve freedom for us and for the world and the people we love. >> mitt romney, giving his first political speech since losing the election speaking at cpac. of course cpac not strongly supportive of romney, he seems to be getting a very good reception. the rhythm of life. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it... in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. great taste. mmm... [ male announcer ] sounds good. it's amazing what soup can do. constipated? yeah. mm. some laxatives like dulcolax can cause cramps. but phillips' caplets don't. they have magnesium. for effective relief of occasional constipation. thanks. [ phillips' lady ] live the regular life. phillips'. when the doctor told me that i could smoke for the first week... i'm like...yeah, ok...
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welcome back, president obama has been under fire if some of his most ardent supporters over the lack of racial diversity in the second-term cabinet. congresswoman marsha fudge, chair of the congressional black caucus joins me now. you wrote to the president on monday, have you heard from president obama? >> i have not talked with the president. but i have talked to the white house. and i'm certainly confident after our conversations that the president is committed to diversity and so we're waiting to see what the rest of the
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cabinet is going to look like. >> you got a call from the white house today, it took a couple ever days to get a call from the senior level of the white house. i have talked to other members of the white house, this is my first time talking with a senior member i feel very good about our conversation today. >> what kind of commitment did she give you, we're talking about valerie jarrett? >> there was not a commitment, except for the fact a that she was very definitive about the fact that they are looking at people who we believe at least from our perspective, we will be pleased to have in the cabinet. so i'll going to wait and see who is in that vetting process. >> what positions are open. we've already had state and obviously the attorney general eric holder is a holdover from the last cabinet. but other than eric holder, who is in the cabinet -- >> there are a few positions currently transportation and commerce, the only two still open. so we're hopeful that one of those positions will be filled by an african-american. >> explain to people why you think it's important. >> well it's important for a number of reasons. all you have to do is look at
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the discussions that have been held around things like sequester. where poor people, minorities have been hit especially hard because sometimes we're not at the table. if you look at the pay force for the dock fix, which disproportionately affected high-important t high-poverty areas, because we weren't at the table. if you think about some of the policies coming out of washington if we're not at the table and no one is speaking out for our interests, we get left out of the process. >> but the man sitting at the head of the table is the first african-american president. >> that is correct. and you have to understand that the president is there to represent all of the people and he can't always be in a position to carve out things for african-americans. so we need someone pushing from our perspective to make sure that our issues are on the table. >> are you surprised at how white frankly, white and male, but now that it's a couple more women have been appointed, how white this cabinet is? >> i've been surprised, but
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again, i am hopeful that it won't look like that when it's over. >> there aren't, as you point out there only two big positions left. >> that's correct. >> and you, but you haven't met with the president yet? >> i have not. >> has the president paid enough attention to his base? has he met with the black caucus enough? >> he has not met with the black caucus recently. we are in the process of scheduling a meeting. but let me just say this to you. people want to make their, at least make people seem that there is a rift, there really isn't a rift. this is our position. we expect the president to represent all of america. we expect the president to represent every single ethnic and religious and every other kind of group. we don't want any more than anyone else. but we don't want any less, either. >> did you bring this up to him when the house democratic caucus met with the president yesterday? >> we did not and he answered a lot of questions, but he did not have the kind of time to get into these issues yesterday and i didn't feel it appropriate to raise it yesterday. we were talking about how we go
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forward with the budget. i thought that that was the appropriate discussion to have. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. >> marsha fudge, congresswoman and stay in touch. we want to know how this comes out. thank you. out. and pope francis has spent his second day on the job meeting with the cardinals who elected him. he was given the keys to the papal apartment which has been sealed since pope benedict stepped out. before checking into his new home, pope francis stopped by the front desk of his hotel, picking up his own luggage, paying the bill. he made his mark by riding a bus. riding with the cardinals, showing that he would not get into that limo and he would still remain in many ways a pastor. joining me now, chester gillis, dean of georgetown college. thank you first, a jesuit institution. this is a very big deal having the first jesuit pope. >> a very big moment for all
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jesuits. and they're prominent around the world. great educators. when you mentioned the pope paying his own bill and carrying his luggage, someone should tell him he is a pope. but he will be a different kind of pope. that is a very refreshing sign. he does not see this as a sign of dominance. he sees it as a sign of service. >> you're surrounded by students every day. you're a teacher. you know what young people rthing. here you have a pope who is very strong and conservative on social issues and he is 76 years old. how is that going to play with you in terms, to play with youth? >> i think there is some concern among some youth when they see an organization which has a transition of power from an 85-year-old to a 76-year-old. that's probably, that may not be unique in the world but it is distinctive. on the other hand, they also see him as a spiritual leader. and whatever his age is, if he has deep biblical values, and he
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has a deep personal spirituality, and he has a sense of justice by himself, they love that. the social justice piece of this pope and his commitment to the poor plays extremely well with young people who are very optimistic and who are very altruistic in their own lives. whether they're religious or not, they can identify with that piece. >> cardinal dolan was saying that this pope is very strict on those social issues. but that he would present a better face, a better package. that he would express it in a different way. is it all the packaging, even though the ideology is still the same strong denunciation of homosexuality? gay marriage, any aspects of contraception and abortion and the role of women? >> in some ways, can you say no with charm? the church resists certain things in culture. it doesn't take surveys, it doesn't say is this the trend. they aren't going to follow it. at the same time, this warm
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personality and his own deep humility does play well. people relate to that. they may not agree on policies. many will admire what he does but they will do what they're going to do in their personal lives. particularly with sexuality, we see this in surveys no, matter what the trend is, no matter who is leading it. >> the significance of the first latin american pope. the first from the americas. >> that's important. it internationalizes the church. that's good. the church is most prominent in latin america. almost 40% catholic there. it is the biggest catholic population in the world and it makes sense that someone would come from there. but he is not so radically different from anyone in rome or anywhere else. it is a single brand name for the church around the world. it is consistent no matter where you go on the theological side. >> if you think he has the management skills and the toughness to perform there in rome that lab accused of a lot
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of corruption. >> i hope he does. i think in the general congregation, there was a mandate for whoever took over, this had to happen. he had to know that when he took the job. it won't be easy but you can replace certain people and influence structures that way. particularly in key positions point there is a strong structure of bureaucracy in the vatican. if you put the right people in who will be change agents below you, you don't have to manage it and micromanage it yourself. you have to make sure that you do make changes at the top. >> the fact that he is a jesuit, finally returning to that. jesuits are raised to believe they should not rise in the hierarchy. >> they're taught not to ambition. and yet in this case, with someone with such talent. he's been identified by others to say okay. he willingly took the position. i think the jesuits are very proud of him and the jesuits are at an interesting place in the church.
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they're right on the edge of the church. and they're often critical of the church themselves, rightfully so, i think. they recognize that they're engaging the world and they want others to engage the world. they're not withdrawing from the world. they're contemplatives in action. the jesuits know how to engaining issues, social issues, they're very smart thinkers. >> this is a proud moment for georgetown, at least in basketball as well. >> that's also true. as soon as we beat syracuse, it will be even better. >> congratulations and good luck against syracuse. thank you very much. that does it for us for this week, for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." next week we'll be on the road with president obama and secretary of state kerry in the middle east. follow the show on twitter and facebook @mitchellreports. [ male announcer ] when ziggy the cat appeared at their door, he opened up jake's very private world.
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Andrea Mitchell Reports
MSNBC March 15, 2013 10:00am-11:00am PDT

News/Business. Interviews with political figures with host Andrea Mitchell. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY America 13, Us 9, Israel 8, Portman 7, Washington 6, Chris Christie 5, Lyrica 5, Francis 4, Andrea Mitchell 4, Chris Cillizza 4, Wayne Lapierre 3, Phillips 3, Jay Carney 3, United States 3, Gary 3, Paul Ryan 3, Jake 3, Kelly O'donnell 3, Marco Rubio 3, Msnbc 3
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